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MacRumors
Jun 27, 2011, 11:45 AM
http://cdn.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/06/27/apple-offering-7-day-refund-policy-on-app-store-apps-in-taiwan/)


Over the past several days, a number of reports have been coming out about Apple and Google being pressured by the Taiwanese government to modify their app sales policies to comply with a law requiring a one-week return and refund window on all purchases. The first mention came on Saturday from WantChinaTimes (http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20110625000102&cid=1102&MainCatID=11), which reported that Apple will be complying with the order.At the request of Taipei City Hall, Apple agreed to let their phone users have a trial period of seven days, within which a user can return the app for a full refund.Until now, Apple has not allowed any trial period for paid apps, although refunds have been available on a case by case basis through iTunes support.

http://cdn.macrumors.com/article-new/2011/06/iphone_4_taiwan_apps.jpg


A new report (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/hardware/google-fined-by-taipei-over-app-trial-refusal/articleshow/9013952.cms) from The Economic Times of India offers additional information on the situation, confirming that Apple has indeed complied with the requirement while Google has been fined $34,600 over its continued refusal to offer a 7-day refund period. That report and another one (http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2011/06/28/2003506866) from the Taipei Times reveal that Google has gone as far as to completely withdraw its paid app marketplace in Taiwan rather than comply with the regulations. The suspension is said to continue while discussions to resolve the impasse are underway.

It is unclear what changes were made by Apple in order to comply with the refund law, and we have received no word of obvious changes in the handling of purchases made through the App Store. Consequently, it is possible that Apple is simply addressing it through its usual iTunes support procedures and simply granting refunds upon request rather than building any specific refund functionality into the purchasing system. Also unknown is whether Apple will be extending the policy to other countries.

Article Link: Apple Offering 7-Day Refund Policy on App Store Apps in Taiwan (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/06/27/apple-offering-7-day-refund-policy-on-app-store-apps-in-taiwan/)



Dr McKay
Jun 27, 2011, 11:47 AM
Man this system screams of abuse :D

Download a paid app, get what you want out of it, return it.

roland.g
Jun 27, 2011, 11:50 AM
Screenshots and reviews are not enough. It would be nice to see iTunes show video previews from the developer showing the App in action so the customer can get a better sense on purchasing.

Not to mention whether it be iTunes categories, etc. or even sites like AppShopper, there really needs to be better information and organization when it comes to finding good Apps.

For example, I was looking last night for Apps for my kid for our upcoming trip and everything is lumped into education with no real breakdown by type, age, etc. So unless you want to go through trial and error, search through tons of apps, etc., it's like trying to sift through a mountain to find what would be useful.

bboucher790
Jun 27, 2011, 11:51 AM
Give me Infinity Blade and I'll finish it in seven days. I guarantee it!

lilcosco08
Jun 27, 2011, 11:52 AM
This is what the store over in the states needs

Bring it over here!

Mlrollin91
Jun 27, 2011, 11:52 AM
I agree with the above poster, screen shots are just not enough. I think that we should have at least a 48hour window to use the app and decide if we want to keep it and it does everything that it says that it will do. There are many apps that I have purchased that don't work as advertised.

Michael73
Jun 27, 2011, 11:53 AM
I wonder if the Mac App Store is next?

Piggie
Jun 27, 2011, 11:54 AM
I am 100% for this, and think we should demand it here.

Many times I've read the reviews of a game, downloaded it, and found out it had a horrible control system so apart from the 1st two minutes I have never loaded the app again. total waste of money and happened to me quite a few times.

I would like a refund system even if it's only for half a hour after purchase, so that if you pay and think OMG it's rubbish or it crashes, you can straight away get a refund.

To be honest, for me, even 1 hour would be plenty, 1 day a real real max. I don't see why you should need days to decide if it's any good.

chameleon81
Jun 27, 2011, 11:54 AM
Good to hear. I really don't like how apple destroyed the trial,demo concept and they created a consumer base who expect to buy applications for 0.99 cents and would write bad reviews if that 0.99 cent app doesn't work excellent .

intelliot
Jun 27, 2011, 11:55 AM
I don't understand: hasn't Google been offering refunds for app purchases from the Android Market since nearly the beginning?

Surely
Jun 27, 2011, 11:58 AM
Man this system screams of abuse :D

Download a paid app, get what you want out of it, return it.

Agreed. So much abuse. I don't blame Google for withdrawing paid apps.

I wonder if people in Taiwan are able to go to a brick and mortar store, buy some DVDs or software, watch, rip, or install them, and then return them for a full refund. If they're able to return downloaded applications, I would guess they'd be able to do the same with CD-ROMs/DVDs.

A better solution would be for Apple to make free trial versions of apps mandatory.

rmwebs
Jun 27, 2011, 11:58 AM
I don't understand: hasn't Google been offering refunds for app purchases from the Android Market since nearly the beginning?

Yup

igazza
Jun 27, 2011, 11:59 AM
This is what the store over in the states needs

Bring it over here!

yea so we can kill all the developers..

cwedl
Jun 27, 2011, 12:00 PM
All joking aside.. the amount of times i have bought and app and it's turned out to be rubbish.. I would love this policy..

swarmster
Jun 27, 2011, 12:01 PM
I don't understand: hasn't Google been offering refunds for app purchases from the Android Market since nearly the beginning?

Yes, for 15 minutes. Taiwan apparently requires 7 days.

goobot
Jun 27, 2011, 12:02 PM
A week is way to long for a software return policy. Should be a day.

arn
Jun 27, 2011, 12:02 PM
I don't understand: hasn't Google been offering refunds for app purchases from the Android Market since nearly the beginning?

Google now offers a 15 minute window to return/refund. Looks like they are not agreeing to the 7-day window.

arn

jayducharme
Jun 27, 2011, 12:02 PM
This is what the store over in the states needs

Bring it over here!

A majority of apps have free versions anyway. I can see the refund policy being useful for really expensive apps that don't live up to their promise. Since Apple likes keeping customers happy, they'd most likely issue a refund in that case. I don't get what the problem is.

TheAustrianGuy
Jun 27, 2011, 12:02 PM
yea so we can kill all the developers..

Good apps will still generate enough revenue.
However, I think 7 days is too long. Make it 24 hours and I'm good with it.

FroMann
Jun 27, 2011, 12:03 PM
If things are going digital only, they sure as heck better have a return policy. Cmon Apple!

richard4339
Jun 27, 2011, 12:04 PM
Google now offers a 15 minute window to return/refund. Looks like they are not agreeing to the 7-day window.

I'll agree with some of the above posts. I think a return period in the App store should be implemented. I think the 15 minutes Google does it too little, but the 7 days is too much. But either way, this should be a standard feature worldwide.

outphase
Jun 27, 2011, 12:07 PM
Android Market's current 15 minutes is too little for customers, and the previous 24 hours was too much for developers. I wonder if Apple would strike a balance with this to make it more consumer friendly.

arn
Jun 27, 2011, 12:08 PM
I'll agree with some of the above posts. I think a return period in the App store should be implemented. I think the 15 minutes Google does it too little, but the 7 days is too much. But either way, this should be a standard feature worldwide.

The main problem with this is that for most games, you can complete them within 24 hours. So, it's not particularly fair for developers that people will be able to refund games after playing them through.

arn

Dagless
Jun 27, 2011, 12:08 PM
I'd welcome a system like this in Europe. There are so many apps that have received glowing reviews on various sites, only to find it to be rubbish or written by people with an agenda/in the pockets of the developers.

7 days is awfully long. If it was up to me I'd give 12-24 hour returns, no questions asked.

roland.g
Jun 27, 2011, 12:09 PM
There's a fine line here between protecting the consumer and giving the consumer a system to abuse. Agreed that a week is ridiculous, but that hours would be better.

Apple could simply integrate a system where all paid apps are automatically 1 hour trials. A popup notification comes up within an hour asking you if you want to refund/cancel your purchase. Your account would track it so you can't trial an App twice. And if you don't want to wait the 1 hour for the notification, you could simply hit the delete X to remove it from the device, with iOS recognizing that the notification had not arrived yet, and prompting you "Are you sure you want to cancel this purchase and delete this App?". All apps that were either not deleted manually and therefore refunded or you did not opt out of when the 1 hour notification came in, would be automatically charged and be non-refundable. As in sorry you had your chance. You wouldn't have to wait for the notification and it would be the users onus to try the app and cancel the purchase if they didn't like it. Simple.

But it would also prevent people from buying apps for a day or several days, playing/using them, and then not paying for it.

You need to protect the consumer but at the same time not have a system in place that lets people scam the developers. See arn's quote below.

The main problem with this is that for most games, you can complete them within 24 hours. So, it's not particularly fair for developers that people will be able to refund games after playing them through.

arn

firewood
Jun 27, 2011, 12:14 PM
Need a game that you can finish in less than 7 days, or even an expensive professional app for a project of less than 7 days? Now even more unscrupulous customers can rip off the developers and get apps for free in Taiwan.

To those complaining that the app descriptions and reviews are not enough, just don't buy those apps. Go write your own app that does what you want.

foobarbaz
Jun 27, 2011, 12:16 PM
7 days is way to much for games. You could play through most full console titles in that time. I hope they do something against abuse, like refusing further service to users who return most purchases.

But I'd love to see a 1h trial, or something.

Bathplug
Jun 27, 2011, 12:16 PM
7 days is to long for other parts of the world. An hour trial is enough to try out the app otherwise its not fair on the developers.

swarmster
Jun 27, 2011, 12:17 PM
I'll agree with some of the above posts. I think a return period in the App store should be implemented. I think the 15 minutes Google does it too little, but the 7 days is too much. But either way, this should be a standard feature worldwide.

While the consumer-facing policy is that "all sales are final", Apple is authorized by developers to refund a purchase "in the event that Apple receives any notice or claim from any end-user that: (i) the end-user wishes to cancel its license to any of the Licensed Applications within (90) days of the date of download of that Licensed Application by that end-user", and they have been known to do so if requested.

It might be the case that it's not a blanket policy precisely because of the concern for abuse, and this way they can more closely monitor requests.

notjustjay
Jun 27, 2011, 12:18 PM
Agree with the posts on this thread suggesting this should be a universal policy. If some countries require certain time periods, like 7 days, then so be it; otherwise, an hour is plenty of time to download an app, fire it up, try it, and decide that it's not what you wanted.

I have downloaded a number of $0.99 apps that I've looked at quickly and said "Rats, that's not what I was expecting at all. Oh well, there goes a dollar." I can handle the occasional buck, but this has caused me to be very wary of downloading apps that cost more than a couple of bucks -- I need to be very sure that it's what I want before I buy it. Having a "satisfaction guaranteed" policy like this would allow me to try out, say, 5 different to-do list apps before I finally buy the one I like best.

As someone else mentioned, they could set a flag so that you're only allowed to "return" the app once; after that, if you decide in the future that you really do want that app after all, then you could buy it again but this time there would be no option to refund your purchase.

Rodimus Prime
Jun 27, 2011, 12:20 PM
The main problem with this is that for most games, you can complete them within 24 hours. So, it's not particularly fair for developers that people will be able to refund games after playing them through.

arn

True. I think 15 mins is too short and 24 hours is way to long. I think 1 hour would be fine. That gives you enough time to really dig into it but not enough to get all your enjoyment out of it.

topmounter
Jun 27, 2011, 12:21 PM
Wow, you can create a world in seven days (purportedly).

roland.g
Jun 27, 2011, 12:23 PM
While the consumer-facing policy is that "all sales are final", Apple is authorized by developers to refund a purchase "in the event that Apple receives any notice or claim from any end-user that: (i) the end-user wishes to cancel its license to any of the Licensed Applications within (90) days of the date of download of that Licensed Application by that end-user", and they have been known to do so if requested.

It might be the case that it's not a blanket policy precisely because of the concern for abuse, and this way they can more closely monitor requests.

Problem with that system is that it really isn't a system and people don't really know about it. I am all for a one hour trial to not cheat developers, but at the same time, I want a system that I know exists. Contacting Apple on a case-by-case basis is really a pain, and one very people would know how to do. But if you build it into iOS, then it simplifies it. Auto-purchasing after 1 hour gives people the ability to delete it and cancel the purchase or a notification reminds you to do so immediately. Otherwise you are stuck with it. You could even put a toggle in the App Store settings on the iPhone/iPad for turning off App notifications for Store purchases if you don't want to see them. Then the onus is completely on you to delete the purchase within an hour if you don't want it but also don't want to be bothered by the notification. With iOS 5, I would think that this would be even easier to implement.

radiogoober
Jun 27, 2011, 12:24 PM
I am 100% for this, and think we should demand it here.

Many times I've read the reviews of a game, downloaded it, and found out it had a horrible control system so apart from the 1st two minutes I have never loaded the app again. total waste of money and happened to me quite a few times.

I would like a refund system even if it's only for half a hour after purchase, so that if you pay and think OMG it's rubbish or it crashes, you can straight away get a refund.

To be honest, for me, even 1 hour would be plenty, 1 day a real real max. I don't see why you should need days to decide if it's any good.

Agree 100%. Even a day trial period like you said would be fine.

I've downloaded SO MUCH CRAP from the App Store. ****** garbage apps.

pmz
Jun 27, 2011, 12:26 PM
No, I don't approve of this at all...it does not protect Consumers at all...what bull$%^&.

All it does is cheat developers out of money they're entitled to.

Any and every App can be effectively used, and all value absorbed, within the grace period, and then a refund granted.

This type of "consumer protection" is total nonsense, and only serves to cheat software developers.

Don't buy it if you don't want it.

roland.g
Jun 27, 2011, 12:27 PM
As someone else mentioned, they could set a flag so that you're only allowed to "return" the app once; after that, if you decide in the future that you really do want that app after all, then you could buy it again but this time there would be no option to refund your purchase.

You go to buy an App that you have already trialed, and the popup says, "You have used your trial for this app, purchase now?" or something. The thing about this system is that Apple wouldn't be dealing with refunds. They charge your card at day's end for all iTunes purchases, music, apps, etc. The charge would simply not be put through if you cancelled within the 1 trial window. They are not returning money, but just waiting an hour to make the purchase official.

But all that aside, I still think Apple needs to make the App store much more organized and searchable. Finding what you want can be a nightmare sometimes.

Intarweb
Jun 27, 2011, 12:33 PM
Every app should have a trial version or at the very least Apple should implement an hour limit.

tigress666
Jun 27, 2011, 12:35 PM
I think even a day is too much honestly. There are plenty of apps I've gotten that I've gotten my use out of in a day (mostly cheesy games and even if I paid 99 cents I wouldn't be too upset if they entertained me for a day).

I think an hour is more than plenty to figure out if you like the app, even 30 minutes is enough (15 is a bit small but I think I could figure out if I liked an app in 15 minutes, it still gives you time to mess around and mostly figure out if it is useful to you).

Honestly, with most cheap apps anyways an hour should be way more than enough. It's not like with a lot of apps you are out of a lot of dough anyways.

7 days though is completely abusive and Taiwan really needs to figure out that different mediums really need different considerations on what is fair. An all inclusive law leads to stuff like requiring 7 days on software apps that plenty of people have pointed out here leads to people getting their use out of the app and then returning it so they can use it for free (even I could probably finish a game if I was determined in 7 days and I'm pretty slow at finishing games).

nippyjun
Jun 27, 2011, 12:39 PM
Do we get refunds for boxed games? Do we get refunds for movies we see or buy?

spazzcat
Jun 27, 2011, 12:42 PM
Do we get refunds for boxed games? Do we get refunds for movies we see or buy?

In the US? In most cases if you opened it you can't return it...

ranReloaded
Jun 27, 2011, 12:43 PM
Japan has an 8-day "cooling off" period. It is a culture of traveling sales men tricking the elderly into buying expensive mattresses.

I wonder how Apple got around it. Maybe it doesn't apply to software, or maybe japanese people are way past 1-2 dollar refunds.

nadaclue
Jun 27, 2011, 12:43 PM
Do we get refunds for boxed games? Do we get refunds for movies we see or buy?

You can resell physical media like DVD's and boxed games (ebay). You can't do that with a digital download. I would love to have an hour free with an app.

I have bought a couple apps that I feel really ripped off with. It would be nice if the consumer would have a little protection in this area.

Messy
Jun 27, 2011, 12:47 PM
Is there a limit on the amount of times an app can be purchased and refunded?

For example, if not, then you'd never need to buy an expensive GPS app ever again, you'd just get it every time you went on a trip and refund it when you get home.

Surely?

bdkennedy1
Jun 27, 2011, 12:50 PM
I am absolutely for a return policy. I can't tell you how much money I've lost on useless crap from developers that don't fix bugs.

jmpnop
Jun 27, 2011, 12:53 PM
Most of the games can be finished within 7 days. 1hr-4hr should be max trial period.

Chip NoVaMac
Jun 27, 2011, 12:53 PM
yea so we can kill all the developers..

Don't see how this will kill developers; other than allowing some developers to put crap out there and get rich off of bad product.

ThunderSkunk
Jun 27, 2011, 12:59 PM
Most of the games can be finished within 7 days. 1hr-4hr should be max trial period.

I am 100% for a return policy as well, and I agree with your timeframe. Any app I've wished I could get a refund for, I knew within minutes of downloading it that it didn't do what it was advertised as doing, or it was a rickety, unstable pile.

Rodimus Prime
Jun 27, 2011, 01:01 PM
Don't see how this will kill developers; other than allowing some developers to put crap out there and get rich off of bad product.

Just for a case and point of an crap App a dev made a lot of money off of.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_Rich nuf said

Sander
Jun 27, 2011, 01:03 PM
I'd agree to a 15-minute or perhaps one hour "cooling off" period, but allowing people to play a game for a day or even a week and then get refunded sounds bad to me. We're talking about less than a buck for most apps. I've bought beers that were more expensive, and lasted less than 15 minutes. I'd never think of asking for a refund for those.

Disclaimer: I have an app on the app store so I'm one of those "filthy rich" developers (I wish).

chrmjenkins
Jun 27, 2011, 01:06 PM
The main problem with this is that for most games, you can complete them within 24 hours. So, it's not particularly fair for developers that people will be able to refund games after playing them through.

arn

Yup. They need a small time limit and/or progress % trip indicator to prevent free games.

Still, in the commercial packaged software world, there is no try it before you buy it expectation, so I would say a very small window like 15 minutes is more than generous.

dethmaShine
Jun 27, 2011, 01:14 PM
Screenshots and reviews are not enough. It would be nice to see iTunes show video previews from the developer showing the App in action so the customer can get a better sense on purchasing.

Not to mention whether it be iTunes categories, etc. or even sites like AppShopper, there really needs to be better information and organization when it comes to finding good Apps.

For example, I was looking last night for Apps for my kid for our upcoming trip and everything is lumped into education with no real breakdown by type, age, etc. So unless you want to go through trial and error, search through tons of apps, etc., it's like trying to sift through a mountain to find what would be useful.

Agreed. App store organisation is not good at all. Plus on the iPad, after scrolling through tonnes of pages, when you enter an app to see its description and you come out of it, you are directed back to the starting of the list with absolutely no way to go back. It's pathetic programming and poor data structuring on Apple's part.

I guess they need some better Algorithm experts to sort this out.

espoir
Jun 27, 2011, 01:14 PM
When user pays $1 the developer gets 0.7 but when the refund is processed Apple takes not 0.7 but $1 from the developer. So every refund is -0.3 per dollar for the developer.

So I guess many apps will be just pulled from Taiwan store...

roland.g
Jun 27, 2011, 01:16 PM
When user pays $1 the developer gets 0.7 but when the refund is processed Apple takes not 0.7 but $1 from the developer. So every refund is -0.3 per dollar for the developer.

So I guess many apps will be just pulled from Taiwan store...

That's why I said, don't make it a refund process, but a trial process where the transaction goes live if not cancelled in an hour. Then there's nothing to refund. Just wait to charge.

Jelite
Jun 27, 2011, 01:19 PM
I would abuse the crap out of this and never buy anything again.

Anaemik
Jun 27, 2011, 01:20 PM
Need a game that you can finish in less than 7 days, or even an expensive professional app for a project of less than 7 days? Now even more unscrupulous customers can rip off the developers and get apps for free in Taiwan.

To those complaining that the app descriptions and reviews are not enough, just don't buy those apps. Go write your own app that does what you want.

Oh please....

Jolly Jimmy
Jun 27, 2011, 01:23 PM
What developers should do is offer trial version on their own websites, and sell the full app through the store. Why some developers don't offer seperate trials is plain stupid. There are quite a few apps that I was interested in but without a trial there's simply no way I would hand over my money.

bit density
Jun 27, 2011, 01:23 PM
But as it gets more and more expensive, yes I care, and yes it is keeping me from apps that I want but I am not going to risk my cash that they don't meet my needs or suck. You know things like Tom-Tom and other apps in the 20+ or 100+ range. I want a WAY better GPS app than maps, but can't find one, because of the no-return, no-trial policy.

There are people that are figuring ways to do this with in app purchasing, and Internet touches. But no-returns only is broken and open to abuse too.

Anaemik
Jun 27, 2011, 01:25 PM
I'd agree to a 15-minute or perhaps one hour "cooling off" period, but allowing people to play a game for a day or even a week and then get refunded sounds bad to me. We're talking about less than a buck for most apps. I've bought beers that were more expensive, and lasted less than 15 minutes. I'd never think of asking for a refund for those.

Disclaimer: I have an app on the app store so I'm one of those "filthy rich" developers (I wish).

Why all the talk about games? Apple does sell *other* software through the app store you know? Like their $299 pro apps such as FCP X for example (and a pretty good example given how many people would seemingly be wanting to return their versions right now). 15 mins to an hour is not enough time to evaluate a pro app, plus the clock starts ticking the moment you hit "purchase", and I for one do not always have the time to evaluate an application the moment I buy it.

I would approve of this being implemented in other territories and personally think that 48 hrs is a more reasonable timeframe. Game developers have already partially figured out a solution to this in the form of expansion packs anyway - that model would seem to work very well to protect them from bogus refunds.

Starship77
Jun 27, 2011, 01:33 PM
I think they should do something like 7 days from purchase / 1 hour of usage - whichever comes first. More or less like in movie rentals that have 30 days/24hours. This way it would be harder for people to abuse. This could be the standard for all countries.

tcampb01
Jun 27, 2011, 01:34 PM
I can see both sides... there's a reason that "hardware" is returnable but "software" is not. Users would abuse the ability to buy, do what they need, then return -- and for a lot of software it's just a means to make a copy that the user keeps.

HOWEVER, after the recent Apple disaster with the new "Final Cut Pro X", I totally understand why users want the ability to try the software before buying.

alhedges
Jun 27, 2011, 01:39 PM
An hour seems reasonable for games and for products under, say, $10 or $20. For non-game products costing more than $20, 7 days might be reasonable.

Kindle offers 7 day returns on ebooks, but (apparently) can lock you out if you are abusing it (they can tell how many pages you turned in a returned book, for example). AFAICT, the net effect of this return policy is to increase sales, since people are more likely to buy something is there is no risk.

fun173
Jun 27, 2011, 01:43 PM
This is absolute stupidity. I am not for this at all.

ericmooreart
Jun 27, 2011, 01:45 PM
I'm for this policy here. As was posted above for 48 hours instead of 7 days. Or even better, just a demo with saving disabled with the option to buy a serial

wordoflife
Jun 27, 2011, 01:49 PM
Woud love to see this in the US. Maybe not 7 days, but 15 minutes like Google does it.

Apple would have to change the system though so this works. Like they would have to flag apps in your purchase history so you can't download them again until you pay for it. Reason I say this is because I had to return an app that I downloaded by accident, and all they were able to do is refund it. The app stayed on my device and purchase history and can still be redownloaded for free though I should have been charged $10 again.

notjustjay
Jun 27, 2011, 01:51 PM
I've bought beers that were more expensive, and lasted less than 15 minutes. I'd never think of asking for a refund for those.


Sure, but if you took a sip of that beer and found that it was flat, or tasted odd, wouldn't you complain? If it wasn't fit for purpose then you are entitled to refund it (so long as you didn't drink it all of course).

Do we get refunds for boxed games? Do we get refunds for movies we see or buy?

Yes, at least at the theatres in my area you can get refunds (or at least credits, passes, etc.) for movies if you leave within the first 15-20 minutes. Not long enough for you to cheat the system but long enough for you to decide that this movie is definitely NOT one you wanted to watch.

And you can resell boxed games if you don't like them.

Why all the talk about games? Apple does sell *other* software through the app store you know? Like their $299 pro apps such as FCP X for example (and a pretty good example given how many people would seemingly be wanting to return their versions right now). 15 mins to an hour is not enough time to evaluate a pro app, plus the clock starts ticking the moment you hit "purchase", and I for one do not always have the time to evaluate an application the moment I buy it.


Even if you aren't able to "fully" evaluate the software you can at least have some idea of whether it will (or might) work out for you. For example, you buy a GPS app with built-in mapping only to discover that the mapping for your city/county/country is nonexistent or incomplete or outright wrong. I went through this recently as I was shopping for GPS nav apps for my iPhone. Thankfully certain apps had customer reviews that said things like "Warning! Do not buy if you live in Canada! The maps are outdated! ... etc."

dgree03
Jun 27, 2011, 01:53 PM
There needs to be a refund policy. think 1 hour is sufficient without a free trial.

Or why not allow free trial apps? after 2 days the app expires and you are required to buy it.

Or do an incentive program. So say you DL a free trial of angry birds, then after 48 hours the app expires, but instead of paying full price you get a discount because you DL'd the trial?

satkin2
Jun 27, 2011, 01:59 PM
My experience of apps is that you can tell within 5 minutes whether you'll like or dislike an app. I've downloaded loads that I've deleted very soon after because I thought they were rubbish.

I struggle to see a way to implement a refund policy unless there is a time limit, although how do you judge the time. Some more complex apps may need longer to trial, for example I trialled a GPS tracker to tag my photos, I needed that for a few hours to see how it worked as I moved around.

It's a really tricky one, but if word of this spreads I can see there being more and more calls for it to be implemented across the board. Perhaps Apple will have to introduce Demo/Trial software , much like lite apps on the Apps store.

kockgunner
Jun 27, 2011, 02:00 PM
I feel bad for developers who make apps that are only fun for 15 minutes. It's really not fair to impose a 1 week return period for ALL the different kinds of apps on the App Store.

Does Android's 15 minutes start counting down right after you open the app or is it from the purchase time? I think having 15 minutes total time would be better.

duke49er
Jun 27, 2011, 02:00 PM
Help me out here...

How do you "return" an app?

topmounter
Jun 27, 2011, 02:08 PM
Help me out here...

How do you "return" an app?

"Uninstall & Refund" rather than "Return"

0815
Jun 27, 2011, 02:11 PM
Help me out here...

How do you "return" an app?

You make a screenshot of the screen while you are deleting it and send it to the developer/apple.

bit density
Jun 27, 2011, 02:12 PM
AFAICT, the net effect of this return policy is to increase sales, since people are more likely to buy something is there is no risk.

Ding... I know for a fact that I would spend more, if I had a better method of doing exactly this.

DRM has improved to the point, and the positive overall customer experience, that it simply works. Almost all major programs are fully functioning expiring trials, until you enter the key. And it works. Similar methodology can be used in the app store. There will be some abuse, just like there is with AAC files.

RobQuads
Jun 27, 2011, 02:14 PM
Help me out here...

How do you "return" an app?

You can't currently. You can get a refund.

My brother got a refund for TomTom as it kept loosing the signal so in the uk it was "Not fit for purpose" and so entitled to a refund. He still gets updates for the app so its just a refund.

I think a 24h trial is the way it should go. 15 minutes if often not enough time i.e. I have been playing around with security webcams and even using the free apps its taken me a while playing around getting it working the way I might like to use it.

As for the whole, it will hurt developers, the only developers it will 'hurt' are those producing poor quality over priced apps and I loose no sleep about them loosing out.

I don't agree with the whole "If you don't like it don't buy it" purely because how do you know like if it you can't try it? May apps that are not games pay well not work the way you want them too.

The more expensive apps become it becomes even more relavent. OK if you get a 99c/69p app and its rubbish your less likely to kick off but if its a $20/£15 app and its not clear exactly how it works then thats not good.

chrono1081
Jun 27, 2011, 02:15 PM
This is what the store over in the states needs

Bring it over here!

Only if you want to see developers begin to quickly abandon the platform.

John.B
Jun 27, 2011, 02:16 PM
How do they enforce that the app is actually removed? Kill switch on the app or in the app store (like the rented movies on iTunes)?

0815
Jun 27, 2011, 02:17 PM
I think they should do something like 7 days from purchase / 1 hour of usage - whichever comes first. More or less like in movie rentals that have 30 days/24hours. This way it would be harder for people to abuse. This could be the standard for all countries.

Thats the best idea. 1 hour of actual usage or 7 days of ownership, whatever comes first. I like that idea.

I usually can decide within 15min if an application is useful for me or not (most garbage I delete within 1 minute). But I often download apps when I read a nice review, but don't start them until the evening or the next day when I have some downtime. The policy you suggest would allow me to download and test a day or two later and still had the benefit (for the developer) that you don't use it more than one hour.

Maybe the 'trial' time should be adjusted by 'price' so that more expensive pro apps can be tested more throughly ( 99c = 10min, $1.99=15min .... )

toy79111
Jun 27, 2011, 02:24 PM
Hey guys, I'm from Taiwan.
This story begins with a group of stupid people who bought an app, claims it can track other people's phones...
Every normal man will find out that the app is just a toy, for entertainment only. I remember the description clearly says," This App is for entertainment only"( in Chinese). Those people don't even read the description of the app... They think it's a deception...
So they go to the government to make Apple give their money back. And there's one guy in the government who really wants to be on the news, makes Google and Apple to offer 7-Day Refund...
Sorry about my bad English...

bilbo--baggins
Jun 27, 2011, 02:26 PM
I've bought about 5 different ToDo apps and within minutes discovered they didn't do what I wanted.

I would buy more if I knew I could get refund on the ones that weren't suitable.

Currently, if you're looking for specific features - the current screenshots and descriptions simply aren't adequate.

0815
Jun 27, 2011, 02:31 PM
Hey guys, I'm from Taiwan.
This story begins with a group of stupid people who bought an app, claims it can track other people's phones...
Every normal man will find out that the app is just a toy, for entertainment only. I remember the description clearly says," This App is for entertainment only"( in Chinese). Those people don't even read the description of the app... They think it's a deception...
So they go to the government to make Apple give their money back. And there's one guy in the government who really wants to be on the news, makes Google and Apple to offer 7-Day Refund...
Sorry about my bad English...

Thanks for creating an account to give us this update 'from the front' ...

ann713
Jun 27, 2011, 02:46 PM
Good, except they should enforce a no-refund on games.

soosy
Jun 27, 2011, 02:49 PM
An interesting idea could be to base the trial on the cost of the app. $1 apps would have a very short trial (15min) or none at all. Once you get to $5 and above there could be a more significant trial time (hours/days).

Tiger8
Jun 27, 2011, 02:52 PM
That's a smart idea, I think we need a similar policy in the US too.

7 days might be a stretch. Maybe make it a 2 hr window?

It should apply to eBooks, too (Amazon has a very short window for canceling when you buy directly on the kindle).

Hey guys, I'm from Taiwan.
This story begins with a group of stupid people who bought an app, claims it can track other people's phones...
Every normal man will find out that the app is just a toy, for entertainment only. I remember the description clearly says," This App is for entertainment only"( in Chinese). Those people don't even read the description of the app... They think it's a deception...
So they go to the government to make Apple give their money back. And there's one guy in the government who really wants to be on the news, makes Google and Apple to offer 7-Day Refund...
Sorry about my bad English...

Your English is very good. Thanks for telling us the story!

celo48
Jun 27, 2011, 02:54 PM
The way it should be. Awesome!

shiming
Jun 27, 2011, 02:56 PM
Hi, I come from Taiwan, too.

Even the 7-day refund policy for the App Store are joke. I think you should know the Apple's customer support quality is not well in many place.

The Taiwan's App Store(We have no iTunes Store to purchase music and movies, book store just download free old books only) is whole English, even in Apple ID creation. This is a huge problem for non-English people. many new user have problem in create Apple ID, so they take their iPhone to some underground service to pay for JB, and these service will give install lots of piracy apps(or give they CDs which fill of piracy apps) as the reward.

If users didn't understand how to registration, they don't know how to report problem to Apple. so weeks ago, some apps made from China developer made the complaint explosion. force the government order apple and google provide a clear refund method and apply the 7-day refund policy in Taiwan(for those can't try before you paid item).

I think if Apple could provide translated app store and local customer support agent in Taiwan, the problem will not a issue. But in Taiwan, the Apple product never have a good support here, made the thing happen. If they did, the refund policy should be discussible, not force they just apply the current rule(for everything).

gareoz
Jun 27, 2011, 03:04 PM
Bravo!! There was one app in particular that I purchased that absolutely did not do what it advertised and was unable to get my money back. I realized it immediately, didn't need seven days. It was pure bait and switch. My attempts to get my money back failed. A couple of bucks didn't break the bank, but being robbed is what boiled the blood. I agree with an earlier post...bring this policy to the states!!

Xenc
Jun 27, 2011, 03:28 PM
Does the developer still pay?

SmileyBlast!
Jun 27, 2011, 03:38 PM
yea so we can kill all the developers..

I think that this would definitely lower revenues for Apple if it had wider implementation in more App. Stores.
I guess Buyer Beware is all.
Read reviews more carefully before you buy.
I know that takes the impulsiveness out of the whole thing but you will avoid Buyer's Remorse.

RafaT97
Jun 27, 2011, 03:40 PM
THis should come to the U.S !! It will save a lot! $$$

LarryC
Jun 27, 2011, 03:43 PM
I personally see no problem with their being a time limit on trying an application to see if it does what it says it will do. There have been several apps that I have purchased and they were nothing but a waste of my time and money. If this would totally destroy the business of developers (and I think that idea is simply rubbish) then why is it that Apple and Microsoft can manage to let people download and try out apps such as office and iWork? Some of the apps on the app store are purely trash. Others are worth more than they cost. Just my 2 cents.

miamialley
Jun 27, 2011, 03:58 PM
Before I buy I try to find reviews on other sites, including youtube reviews. Sometimes I just don't have enough info and usually just don't buy. I imagine a lot of people are like me and would buy more apps if I could better see what they can do. Maybe developers should think of that?

That said, seven days is too long.

baryon
Jun 27, 2011, 04:01 PM
I wish I could return "Hype" that I bought from the Mac App Store. I bought it because it had positive reviews and all the hype around it (no pun intended). It turned out to be crap and it was quite expensive. Back to Flash.

LoganT
Jun 27, 2011, 04:03 PM
Honestly, a 5 minute trial window would be enough.

RollTide1017
Jun 27, 2011, 04:11 PM
I wish we had this here. I bought the Golf World Monday app for the iPad and the thing has never worked, it crashes everytime I load it. Tried reinstalling it a few times and rebooting my iPad, no luck. The app simply doesn't work. I should have listened to the reviews which all said it was bad but, I love golf and want to give it a shot and thought it couldn't really be as bad as the reviews. That's 9.99 I wish I could get back.

WestonHarvey1
Jun 27, 2011, 04:14 PM
Boycott Taiwan. Go into iTunes Connect, Rights and Pricing, deselect Taiwan. Let's retroactively return their apps for them.

SmileyBlast!
Jun 27, 2011, 04:17 PM
I wish we had this here. I bought the Golf World Monday app for the iPad and the thing has never worked, it crashes everytime I load it. Tried reinstalling it a few times and rebooting my iPad, no luck. The app simply doesn't work. I should have listened to the reviews which all said it was bad but, I love golf and want to give it a shot and thought it couldn't really be as bad as the reviews. That's 9.99 I wish I could get back.
That's one of the worst stories I've ever heard about app. purchasing. :eek:

zgh1999
Jun 27, 2011, 04:19 PM
Agreed. So much abuse. I don't blame Google for withdrawing paid apps.

I wonder if people in Taiwan are able to go to a brick and mortar store, buy some DVDs or software, watch, rip, or install them, and then return them for a full refund. If they're able to return downloaded applications, I would guess they'd be able to do the same with CD-ROMs/DVDs.

A better solution would be for Apple to make free trial versions of apps mandatory.

People in Taiwan are wealthy and honest.

Perhaps people in Canada would do what you are speculating.

dampfnudel
Jun 27, 2011, 04:30 PM
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This is what the store over in the states needs

Bring it over here!

Only if you want to see developers begin to quickly abandon the platform.

To anyone who says developers will abandon the platform if Apple introduces a 1 hour trial, only the developers who release crappy apps will look elsewhere to make a quick buck. I've wasted probably around $10 in "app regret" in the past 2 years. That may not sound like too much, but keep in mind because of that, I've been a lot more cautious when selecting an app for purchase. In other words, if you're a developer with a good app, you have nothing to worry about.

WestonHarvey1
Jun 27, 2011, 04:44 PM
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To anyone who says developers will abandon the platform if Apple introduces a 1 hour trial, only the developers who release crappy apps will look elsewhere to make a quick buck. I've wasted probably around $10 in "app regret" in the past 2 years. That may not sound like too much, but keep in mind because of that, I've been a lot more cautious when selecting an app for purchase. In other words, if you're a developer with a good app, you have nothing to worry about.

$10 in 2 years really is nothing. That's good that it has made you more cautious when buying an app. You became a good consumer at the modest cost of $10.

This is a spoiled age. In the 90s you could easily blow $80 on a really bad Super NES game. What people expect for $0.99 really is ridiculous.

Vegasman
Jun 27, 2011, 04:50 PM
All joking aside.. the amount of times i have bought and app and it's turned out to be rubbish.. I would love this policy..

You are WRONG! I heard Steve say the "Apple App Store" only had curated, high quality apps... :rolleyes:

WestonHarvey1
Jun 27, 2011, 04:53 PM
You are WRONG! I heard Steve say the "Apple App Store" only had curated, high quality apps... :rolleyes:

Seriously - I don't remember the last time I bought a bad app. I'm not sure I EVER have. Read reviews in the App Store and on the web, learn to differentiate the shills from real reviews. Look at screen shots and judge the production values. Look at other works the developer has done.

Don't buy apps that you know aren't going to be good. It's really not that hard.

SBlue1
Jun 27, 2011, 04:57 PM
Originally Posted by lilcosco08
This is what the store over in the states needs

Bring it over here!

yea so we can kill all the developers..

easy solution, dont develop crap! :eek:

Stella
Jun 27, 2011, 05:18 PM
Apple should have had a demo / formal refund policy for FCPX!

( refunds are being given on an adhoc basis - reference - Apple discussion boards )

ThunderSkunk
Jun 27, 2011, 05:36 PM
Seriously - Don't buy apps that you know aren't going to be good. It's really not that hard.

Seriously, I'll turn on my psychic abilities next time I'm looking for a CAD app or a music app with a simple Midi Piano Roll in it for composition. ...you know, so I can tell when the CAD app behaves unpredictably and/or crashes every other time you try to save, or when they say "piano roll" that they actually mean a piano roll, and not a useless notation compiler for pre-existing midi tracks. Money wasted: Couple/Few hundred bucks X every other person that went through the same thing. Financially rewarding devs for doing a poor or incomplete job doesn't benefit anyone. The only developer that would argue against some short-term refund period is one that knows they're making garbage apps.

prestomusic
Jun 27, 2011, 07:29 PM
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This won't happen anywhere else unless it is required by law. And Why should it? Why should app users be afforded a system of refund above and beyond that which applies to all other areas of retail whether it be online or not?

Apple already provides a refund mechanism for legitimate cases. Simple as that.

The decision to offer a free or trial version should be at the discretion of the individual developer. Given the shear diversity of App functionality is impossible to devise a single system that is fair to all developers.

prestomusic
Jun 27, 2011, 07:34 PM
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@ thunderskunk

Sounds like you have a legitimate case for a refund? Out of interest how did you go when you contacted Apple to request a refund?

Daveoc64
Jun 27, 2011, 07:34 PM
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This won't happen anywhere else unless it is required by law. And Why should it? Why should app users be afforded a system of refund above and beyond that which applies to all other areas of retail whether it be online or not?

In the EU, everyone has the automatic right to return products (as long as they are in original condition) within 7 days (from the day AFTER you receive them) if bought online/mail order/over the phone.

Digitally Distributed products are exempt, and for things like software you'd have to return it unopened.

IMO Apple should allow some sort of return window, but I don't think I'd make it 7 days.

Android's 15 minutes is better than nothing.

prestomusic
Jun 27, 2011, 07:41 PM
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This won't happen anywhere else unless it is required by law. And Why should it? Why should app users be afforded a system of refund above and beyond that which applies to all other areas of retail whether it be online or not?

In the EU, everyone has the automatic right to return products (as long as they are in original condition) within 7 days (from the day AFTER you receive them) if bought online/mail order/over the phone.

Digitally Distributed products are exempt, and for things like software you'd have to return it unopened.

IMO Apple should allow some sort of return window, but I don't think I'd make it 7 days.

Android's 15 minutes is better than nothing.

Sure I see where you are coming from. But the difference is those physical goods must be returned in an unused conditioned meaning that the consumer has not received any real value from them. Whereas the value of an app can be enjoyed in a short period of time.

I'm yet to read here a blanket proposal for a system that would be fair to all developers.

alhedges
Jun 27, 2011, 08:01 PM
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This won't happen anywhere else unless it is required by law. And Why should it? Why should app users be afforded a system of refund above and beyond that which applies to all other areas of retail whether it be online or not?

Have you ever bought anything at Walmart or Target? Or Nordstrom or Amazon or Zappos? All of these retailers - and thousands others - offer a system of refunds way above what is necessary. They do this because it's good for business.

Apple should offer this too, although maybe not 7 days for a 99c game.

chrono1081
Jun 27, 2011, 08:12 PM
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Sure I see where you are coming from. But the difference is those physical goods must be returned in an unused conditioned meaning that the consumer has not received any real value from them. Whereas the value of an app can be enjoyed in a short period of time.

I'm yet to read here a blanket proposal for a system that would be fair to all developers.

This!

I've bought my fair share of crappy apps, but I've also bought my fair share of excellent apps. Apps DO have a return policy, you just have to contact Apple and thats the way it should be IMO to protect developers.

Too many people on here have no clue what it takes to make an app and it shows. Many of us spend months making something and for someone to get to use it for free and then return it isn't fair for the developers. There is a reason opened software, open DVD's, and open CD's in stores can only be exchanged for the same title, not for different titles and thats because people would get their use out of it and return it, leaving the developers and their hard work with nothing.

I've also seen the argument in the thread: "Well then all developers should offer a free version!". Easier said than done. It requires a whole separate build of the game, separate testing, separate programming for allowing someone to upgrade to the paid version, etc.

Let me put it this way, say you have a cupcake store and anyone can come in and take a bite, or two, or more, or even eat the whole cupcake and then ask for a refund. Is that fair to you?

jclardy
Jun 27, 2011, 08:34 PM
You can't currently. You can get a refund.

My brother got a refund for TomTom as it kept loosing the signal so in the uk it was "Not fit for purpose" and so entitled to a refund. He still gets updates for the app so its just a refund.

I think a 24h trial is the way it should go. 15 minutes if often not enough time i.e. I have been playing around with security webcams and even using the free apps its taken me a while playing around getting it working the way I might like to use it.

As for the whole, it will hurt developers, the only developers it will 'hurt' are those producing poor quality over priced apps and I loose no sleep about them loosing out.

I don't agree with the whole "If you don't like it don't buy it" purely because how do you know like if it you can't try it? May apps that are not games pay well not work the way you want them too.

The more expensive apps become it becomes even more relavent. OK if you get a 99c/69p app and its rubbish your less likely to kick off but if its a $20/£15 app and its not clear exactly how it works then thats not good.

Maybe if the trial time was based on price. Under $9.99 would have a 1 hour trial, over that could be 24 hours.

The issue with a 24 hour "trial" is that 95% of $1-$5 iPhone games can be beat in less than an hour or two. Heck, even $60 xbox 360 games only have 6-8 hour campaigns that can be beat in a day. But you can't return an opened game that you bought from the store.

Most users wouldn't abuse the system, but I could see a lot of teenagers with nothing else to do in the summer "trialing" all the games they want because they can get refunds.

Apple could limit the amount of refunds that an account could get, that would keep people from abusing it once they find they can't "return" all of their apps.

Also it would need to be implemented as a delayed charge so that if you do "return" an app it wouldn't waste credit card processing fees along with losing money for the developer.

prestomusic
Jun 27, 2011, 08:37 PM
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This won't happen anywhere else unless it is required by law. And Why should it? Why should app users be afforded a system of refund above and beyond that which applies to all other areas of retail whether it be online or not?

Have you ever bought anything at Walmart or Target? Or Nordstrom or Amazon or Zappos? All of these retailers - and thousands others - offer a system of refunds way above what is necessary. They do this because it's good for business.

Apple should offer this too, although maybe not 7 days for a 99c game.

Sure but who covers that cost? You're talking about massive companies that absorb the cost. In the current system in the app store the developer is the one who looses out which is fine on an ad hoc basis where the existing refund channel is being used legitimately, but not a good system for a blanket approach.

haruhiko
Jun 27, 2011, 08:59 PM
If Apple uses the kill switch to remove the refunded app from all the iDevices owned by the person asking for the refund then it's fair.

notjustjay
Jun 27, 2011, 09:26 PM
Let me put it this way, say you have a cupcake store and anyone can come in and take a bite, or two, or more, or even eat the whole cupcake and then ask for a refund. Is that fair to you?

What if you had a grocery store and someone could buy groceries, and then return them complaining that the bread was stale or moldy?

Oh yeah, they already let you do that. Because that's a reasonable complaint and a reasonable request for a refund.

mKizzo
Jun 27, 2011, 09:32 PM
Whats most comical about this is that Taiwan has horrible consumer rights. Try returning anything to a store, even within 7 days and it's a friggin nightmare - forget a refund or even coupons you're lucky to get an exchange.

prestomusic
Jun 27, 2011, 09:56 PM
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If Apple uses the kill switch to remove the refunded app from all the iDevices owned by the person asking for the refund then it's fair.

No it's not fair if a any amount of value has been extracted from the App prior to it being deleted. This is the problem, apps are so diverse in their offerings/functionality that a blanket time limit can't work fairly.

tkingart
Jun 27, 2011, 10:09 PM
Like others; I have spent money on numerous apps that were complete rubbish. It is in Apple's best interest to protect consumers in a way that isn't harsh to developers, yet protects us from apps that:

1. Somehow slipped through the approval system.
2. Have many bogus / questionable reviews.
3. Crash prone / unsupported even though your device is listed.
4. Does not live up to claims ( profoundly so ).

I think 1 hour would be more than sufficient time to give any app a test run. All apps should be considered trials for the first 1 hour. You should be able to buy it before or when the 1-hour trial period expires. This would be fair to both consumers and developers. Developers that don't support this, may have ulterior motives.

A good example: there is an app that I paid $5 for that just did not work right called everyAir, and I just recently noticed that it completely disappeared from App Store, it does not even show in my purchases anymore. It appears to have been pulled, but where is my refund? When an app is defunct and pulled, an automated refund should be issued.

chrono1081
Jun 27, 2011, 10:26 PM
What if you had a grocery store and someone could buy groceries, and then return them complaining that the bread was stale or moldy?

Oh yeah, they already let you do that. Because that's a reasonable complaint and a reasonable request for a refund.

Your analogy doesn't hold very well. If you started eating the groceries I assure you they would not be returnable.

Googlyhead
Jun 27, 2011, 10:41 PM
I'm yet to read here a blanket proposal for a system that would be fair to all developers.

Technically, that 'fair' system you're looking for would simply be that if an app has not been used, it's refundable. Anything more (don't like, operational reasons), and you'll have to contact Apple specifically.

Verification of use would simply be a flag set on the users iTunes account when launched for the first time. (’Internet connectivity required to activate...!')

Of course; all this is rather irrelevant seeing as the actual download (and install) of a digital file is activating it in a way; which I guess is why there are return policies for physical goods / media if unopened / unused, but not normally downloads.

terraphantm
Jun 28, 2011, 02:39 AM
Your analogy doesn't hold very well. If you started eating the groceries I assure you they would not be returnable.

Different analogy then. You're at a restaurant, you order a meal. You start eating it, and part way through you find a cockroach embedded in the meal. Chances are they'll give you a new plate and still give you the meal for free.

scottishwildcat
Jun 28, 2011, 03:03 AM
I've often wondered how app stores get around the EU distance selling laws, which state that consumers have a 7 day cooling off period for any online purchase.

mosx
Jun 28, 2011, 03:09 AM
Alright, only have time for a quick post. Can't reply to my other posts yet. But I had to get my voice in on this.

There ABSOLUTELY needs to be a refund system. There is far too much junk in the app store. And, realistically, with practically anything else, if I don't like what I bought for any reason I can return it to the store. Why can't I do that on the app store? Theres plenty of 5 star rated apps on the app store that end up being junk in the end. So why can't one get a refund for that? I remember buying an app last year for $6 then a week later it went permanently free. If I had bought a physical product from any number of stores, I would have been able to take my receipt into any one of those stores and gotten a full refund. But I couldn't get a refund on the app store. Thats not fair to the consumer. It's not fair that if they buy something that is reviewed good but ends up being junk that they're out of luck. So yes, there should be a return period on apps. And it should be at least 48 hours.

To the people who say its not fair to the developers, I say so what? If you make junk you don't deserve to have your junk protected and your ability to rip consumers off preserved. Apple just needs to hold payment and not take their cut until the return window is up. Simple. Or they should give up their cut with the app refund because they're partially responsible for letting junk into the app store to begin with.

To those who say it'll drive away app developers, I say PERFECT. I'd say a good 3/4 of the junk on the app store needs to be removed anyway. Let the jerks who thrive off selling 99c junk leave and only the developers who make something WORTH buying will survive.

If there was a return window then people would be more confident spending money on more expensive apps. If people knew they could get their money back on a $20 app if they felt it wasn't worth the money, they'd be more willing to give it a shot. Then we could see REAL games and other higher quality apps on the app store because then people wouldn't be afraid to try it. They wouldn't have all of these memories of buying $1, $2, $5 apps that ended up being crap and they couldn't get their money back. They'd be like "okay, I'll buy it. If its good I'll keep it and if not then I can get my money back." It's exactly what the app store needs. And, again, to all the people saying its not fair to developers, it's not fair to consumers that the rights of bad app developers are put above the paying customer. Without people buying apps to begin with then none of this would exist. If you're afraid people won't buy your app then MAKE IT worth buying.

The issue with a 24 hour "trial" is that 95% of $1-$5 iPhone games can be beat in less than an hour or two. Heck, even $60 xbox 360 games only have 6-8 hour campaigns that can be beat in a day. But you can't return an opened game that you bought from the store.

No, but you can RENT a $60 Xbox 360 game from Redbox for $2 or you can rent it from Blockbuster, local video stores, or Gamefly. Even better, you can SELL that Xbox 360 game after you're done with it. You can even buy USED Xbox 360 games and save a significant amount of money then sell it off when you're finished and recover most of what you spent. You can't sell an iPhone app. You can't rent it. You can't return it. You can't buy it used!

Store policies prevent opened game returns. Nothing else. However, if you feel a game is bad and want a refund, more often than not you can complain to the game publisher/developer and they'll offer to have you send them the copy and they'll send you back a sealed copy that you can return. Or if its passed the return window they'll offer a free game. Thats what I did with Crysis 2. Single player campaign was far too short to justify $60, multi-player was already dead after just a few days of availability, and filled with cheaters in what few games did exist since no real anti-cheat system was used, and the graphics were nowhere near as good as the hype. So I told EA I wanted a refund but the return window was closing at the store I bought it from. So they let me keep the game and gave me a free game of my choosing.

Your analogy doesn't hold very well. If you started eating the groceries I assure you they would not be returnable.

Thats not true at all. Thats how you find out the groceries are bad and return them.

haruhiko
Jun 28, 2011, 03:12 AM
Note: Apple has complied with the new law and offers a 7-day refund period to Taiwanese customers now.

In another news, Google has rejected to comply with the new law and pulled all paid apps in the Taiwanese Android Market.

See the difference? ;)

iStudentUK
Jun 28, 2011, 03:19 AM
I've often wondered how app stores get around the EU distance selling laws, which state that consumers have a 7 day cooling off period for any online purchase.

Software is specifically excluded in the regulations unless it is in a sealed package. There are lots of exceptions, like auctions, so no distance regs on eBay!

I like what other people have said, you have, say, 7 days or 2 hours once it is opened- whichever comes sooner.

Sander
Jun 28, 2011, 03:28 AM
Sure, but if you took a sip of that beer and found that it was flat, or tasted odd, wouldn't you complain? If it wasn't fit for purpose then you are entitled to refund it (so long as you didn't drink it all of course).

Of course. But it would be strange if I came back to the pub and said "Hey, remember that beer I bought here last week..? I really didn't like it after all, I'd like my two bucks back." Likewise, I wouldn't expect to be able to try out a new kind of beer (say, a Belgian triple), and be entitled to a refund if I didn't like it. I may decide not to drink the rest of it, and just remember not to order this type again and stick to Budweiser next time.

Maybe the 'trial' time should be adjusted by 'price' so that more expensive pro apps can be tested more throughly ( 99c = 10min, $1.99=15min .... )

I was going to suggest this. Good idea. That way, you could give an expensive app a thorough test before you decide to keep it, and developers of 99c "waste-a-few-minutes-at-the-bus-stop" games won't be cheated out of their revenue. There are several apps I bought and used only once, but the super-low prices on most apps make that OK (for me). "Find a restaurant near me" - used only once when I was in a city I'd never been before. But I always figure that the price is less of half a beer, so it won't even occur to me to ask for a refund. If I can afford an iPhone, I can afford the measly 99c.

On the other hand, a variable grace period is not something Apple would do - it's much too complicated to explain.

What people expect for $0.99 really is ridiculous.

It's even stranger. Occasionally I participate in a "free for a day" event with my 99c game, and the major drawback is that of the 30K downloads that day, there will be many people who are simply not attracted to the genre in the first place, and they will leave 1-star reviews. Lots of them. It takes a long time after such an event to get the rating back up by getting reviews from people who bought the game because they were attracted to it, not just because it was free.

shervieux
Jun 28, 2011, 09:14 AM
there are several apps I bought that did not live up to the description and screenshots, that I wished I could get my money back for.

Same with the Mac App Store.

Steve121178
Jun 28, 2011, 09:34 AM
yea so we can kill all the developers..

Who cares? Consumers should be able to get a refund on an app that they are not happy with.

Apple do not offer a refund system to all users because they only care about taking money, not giving it back.

leisenstein
Jun 28, 2011, 10:07 AM
I agree with the 1 hour time limit.

If you can't figure out that the purchase is non-functional within an hour, chances are it works, but you are just having buyer's remorse.

I don't think 'total crap' should qualify as an excuse to return an app. Only if it doesn't work period, or it is completely not what was advertised. Again, that is a vague line, but something you should be able to figure out in an hour.

Also, I'd track user returns to see habitual violators. If one user keeps returning purchases, then put a system in place to prevent this. This is mainly an issue if you allow more than a 1 day period.

notjustjay
Jun 28, 2011, 10:11 AM
Of course. But it would be strange if I came back to the pub and said "Hey, remember that beer I bought here last week..? I really didn't like it after all, I'd like my two bucks back." Likewise, I wouldn't expect to be able to try out a new kind of beer (say, a Belgian triple), and be entitled to a refund if I didn't like it. I may decide not to drink the rest of it, and just remember not to order this type again and stick to Budweiser next time.


Well, the beer analogy falls in that your enjoyment of a beer lasts a few minutes and then it's gone. Coming back a week later to complain wouldn't work because your enjoyment period is long gone. Your window of "I've sampled it but haven't had time to enjoy it yet" might only be those first few sips. But, within that window, I would expect to be able to return/exchange if something was wrong with the product.

But I always figure that the price is less of half a beer, so it won't even occur to me to ask for a refund. If I can afford an iPhone, I can afford the measly 99c.


Well, sure, so can I (and I have thrown away my share of 99-cent app purchases). But just because I can afford to throw away (some) money doesn't mean I like it or there's no better option. To use your beer analogy, sure, there are times I order something and decide I don't like it, and I chalk it up to "oh well, guess I won't order that one again". But if the pub offered you a free sample first, wouldn't you take it?

People say this will hurt developers -- I disagree. I think it will be the exact opposite. There are lots of apps out there that cost in the $10-20+ range that I would really like to give a try, but I'm afraid to because, while I can toss away a 99-cent app without too much concern, I'm going to be much more careful about throwing away $10-20 (or more). So right now, none of those developers are getting any of my money. But, if I could be assured that I could try out the apps first and then buy the one I like, then at the end of the trial periods, one of those developers gets my money.

A few examples I can think of right off the top of my head: "AirPrint to any printer" type apps. Various VNC/remote/virtual display apps. Groundspeak's $10 geocaching app. All of which I will buy, if I could only try them first to make sure I like them.

Same applies to the Mac App store, by the way. Just look at the uproar over FCX. I'd be happy to spend $299, but only if I can have some assurance that I'll like it.

AaronEdwards
Jun 28, 2011, 10:24 AM
$10 in 2 years really is nothing. That's good that it has made you more cautious when buying an app. You became a good consumer at the modest cost of $10.

This is a spoiled age. In the 90s you could easily blow $80 on a really bad Super NES game. What people expect for $0.99 really is ridiculous.

It's also about punishing developers who release crappy apps. For me, that would only be $0.99, but if enough buy a crappy app, the developer might make a lot from it.

AaronEdwards
Jun 28, 2011, 10:35 AM
Time and time again I've heard the argument that iOS is a better platform because those using it are affluent, more willing to pay for apps, etc. But now some people are actually arguing that these would abuse a refund policy and kill the revenue stream for developers.

And maybe they are right, the iTunes Match threads are filled with people giddy about the idea that they would be able to match their pirated songs and get them uploaded into the cloud.

John.B
Jun 28, 2011, 12:00 PM
Time and time again I've heard the argument that iOS is a better platform because those using it are affluent, more willing to pay for apps, etc. But now some people are actually arguing that these would abuse a refund policy and kill the revenue stream for developers.
Axe to grind much? I think the facts bear out that the majority would like to have a way to purchase music, apps, etc. legitimately.

And maybe they are right, the iTunes Match threads are filled with people giddy about the idea that they would be able to match their pirated songs and get them uploaded into the cloud.
There are always unethical people in any group. How would this be any different? Are you assuming every person who downloads iTunes for free is always identical from a moral or ethical standpoint? I think you are painting with an overly broad brush.

notjustjay
Jun 28, 2011, 12:07 PM
Time and time again I've heard the argument that iOS is a better platform because those using it are affluent, more willing to pay for apps, etc. But now some people are actually arguing that these would abuse a refund policy and kill the revenue stream for developers.

I don't know about more affluent, but the fact is that it is mighty convenient that each iTunes account is linked to an active payment card such as a credit card. In the old days, if you wanted to buy an app, there were potentially many steps you'd have to take: go to the app website, register an online account, create a password, type in your credit card number, wait for the email confirmation, copy/paste a serial number, download a new purchased app binary to sync to your device, etc. Not exactly inconvenient, but now all you need to do is press one button, enter one password, and it just happens. It is very convenient and very easy to do, which encourages impulse sales.

Will some people abuse the policy? Sure. There will always be people who look for loopholes, or download cracks or keygens. They were never going to pay up anyway. Will it hurt the sales from honest folk looking for good apps that are worth the money they paid? Absolutely not. In fact I maintain that it will help sales because people will be willing to take more risks on higher-priced apps, knowing they can get a refund if it doesn't work out.

AaronEdwards
Jun 28, 2011, 12:47 PM
I don't know about more affluent, but the fact is that it is mighty convenient that each iTunes account is linked to an active payment card such as a credit card. In the old days, if you wanted to buy an app, there were potentially many steps you'd have to take: go to the app website, register an online account, create a password, type in your credit card number, wait for the email confirmation, copy/paste a serial number, download a new purchased app binary to sync to your device, etc. Not exactly inconvenient, but now all you need to do is press one button, enter one password, and it just happens. It is very convenient and very easy to do, which encourages impulse sales.

Will some people abuse the policy? Sure. There will always be people who look for loopholes, or download cracks or keygens. They were never going to pay up anyway. Will it hurt the sales from honest folk looking for good apps that are worth the money they paid? Absolutely not. In fact I maintain that it will help sales because people will be willing to take more risks on higher-priced apps, knowing they can get a refund if it doesn't work out.

It's not about the App Store vs websites, the comparison is made with the Android market, that's why people bring up the affluent part.

And I agree fully that a refund policy won't hurt sales from honest people looking for good apps, and that it would help with selling more expensive apps.

Too bad that there isn't a workable solution for developers of such willing to give their buyers a trial period.

WestonHarvey1
Jun 28, 2011, 02:31 PM
It's even stranger. Occasionally I participate in a "free for a day" event with my 99c game, and the major drawback is that of the 30K downloads that day, there will be many people who are simply not attracted to the genre in the first place, and they will leave 1-star reviews. Lots of them. It takes a long time after such an event to get the rating back up by getting reviews from people who bought the game because they were attracted to it, not just because it was free.

I know exactly what you mean. You go from the occasional "I want my 99 cents back" to hundreds of "I want the minute of my life you wasted back!". Nothing sends the entitlement crowd into a fury like a free app.

I suppose it makes sense. If you really think you're owed something, then you really mean it - not just a bargain basement price, but FREE. And it had better be DAMN GOOD.

prestomusic
Jun 29, 2011, 05:19 AM
Who cares? Consumers should be able to get a refund on an app that they are not happy with.

Apple do not offer a refund system to all users because they only care about taking money, not giving it back.


1. You should - they are making the apps you use.

2. Why?

There's plenty of things everyday that I'm not 'happy' about for various reason, but I don't walk around expecting to be compensated for it. If you have a legitimate reason to be refunded (crashes, false app descriptions etc) then email Apple and get your money back. Not being 'happy' with something doesn't entitle you to a refund.

3. Wrong. Apple does offer a refund system, to everyone.

Steve121178
Jun 29, 2011, 07:14 AM
Not being 'happy' with something doesn't entitle you to a refund.

It should. If consumers are not happy with something here in the UK they can usually get a refund, be it a practically anything from food items to an item of clothing. Software should not be exempt.

It might also encourage developers to produce higher quality apps. Lets be honest here, a high percentage are atrocious and do not justify the cost. Developers get too much protection, about time things change in favour of the consumer.

iStudentUK
Jun 29, 2011, 07:47 AM
It should. If consumers are not happy with something here in the UK they can usually get a refund, be it a practically anything from food items to an item of clothing. Software should not be exempt.

Most distance sales have a cooling off period of 7 days by law in the UK- you can return the product without giving a reason. But that law gives exceptions, one of which is software unless it is in a sealed package. You don't have the general right to return something you don't like in UK law, distance sales are an exception.

I used to work in a shop and had to listen to crazy consumer rights that customers thought they had. One of my friends had a customer tell him he was breaching her human rights by refusing to sell something that was wrongly priced!

Sander
Jun 29, 2011, 08:56 AM
I suppose it makes sense. If you really think you're owed something, then you really mean it - not just a bargain basement price, but FREE. And it had better be DAMN GOOD.

Indeed. As a developer reading some of the app store reviews, you need quite a thick skin. It's also quite aggravating that you cannot contact the reviewers. Sometimes you get a one-star because someone complains about a missing feature which is, in fact, available.

If the 30% "restocking fee" is debited to the developers, I would be very scared about the refund policy. You could easily end up in the negative that way.

I notice that the 99c performs as a small "barrier" for people to think a few seconds before they decide to buy. If getting a refund is a one-click affair, I'm afraid this will attract the "hoarders" who will simply download everything, re-using their one-time 99c payment over and over again.

I'd much rather have the "auto-buy after x amount of time unless canceled" implementation, because then we won't have to deal with the lost 30%.

litchie
Jun 30, 2011, 01:18 AM
I think Apple should provide a new option for developers so that they can decide whether their apps are going to be returnable in 1hour or 1day or 7days or not returnable. Developers should have the control. When the app is displayed in app store, people can be more cautious if the app is not returnable.

Simple single ruling is not fair to developers(obviously) and nor to customers (some apps require days to try).

jps1012
Aug 8, 2011, 10:31 AM
Is there any app return policy for the US?

Roessnakhan
Aug 8, 2011, 10:48 AM
Is there any app return policy for the US?

Not really, you can submit a problem report which will (usually) refund your money: http://www.40tech.com/2011/01/31/how-to-get-a-refund-from-the-ios-or-mac-app-stores/

jps1012
Aug 8, 2011, 10:49 AM
Not really, you can submit a problem report which will (usually) refund your money: http://www.40tech.com/2011/01/31/how-to-get-a-refund-from-the-ios-or-mac-app-stores/

Thanks.....I want to try docs 2 go but heard it may butcher my google docs file. Wanted to see if there was a way out if it does.